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Posted in Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating

Flavors Of Fall: Pumpkin

Written by Kim Fuller on October 26, 2011 with 1 Comment

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This article is part 7 of 9 in the series Flavors of Fall

Pile of autumn pumpkinsThe pumpkin is autumn’s pride and October’s glory, and its versatility as food and decoration make it easy to celebrate throughout the harvest season.

Origin

Pumpkins are a part of the squash family, and are native to North America. The name “pumpkin” is based on the Greek word ”pepon,” which in Greek means “large melon.”

They usually have an orange shell with a rigid brown stem, but some varieties of the fruit can be pale green, dark green, yellow, white, and/or gray. Pumpkins can range in size from as little as one pound to a few hundred pounds, and giant varieties can be grown to be as large as a thousand pounds.

Enjoyment

Pumpkins are great for all kinds of cooking, since the shell, inner flesh, and seeds are all edible. The pumpkin can be boiled, steamed, roasted or baked, and the fruit is traditionally made into harvest breads, cakes, cookies and pies, and it’s also often puréed into hearty autumn soups. You can buy canned pumpkin that has already been puréed to use in recipes, but you can also purée pumpkin on your own with a food processor after boiling, roasting or steaming the flesh and shell until soft.

Pumpkin seeds can also roasted and enjoyed as a savory snack. Clean the seeds and place them on a cookie tray. Add a touch of cooking oil to the seeds, as well as some salt and seasoning before roasting them in the oven at 250 degrees F for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Benefits

Pumpkins provides an abundance of anti-oxidant vitamins, including vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin E.  Beta carotenes, fiber and potassium are also abundant in the harvest fruit. Pumpkin can be a healthy addition to recipes, since it’s low in calories, but provides a buttery and rich texture in baked goods.

Pumpkin seeds are low in cholesterol, and they are a good source of vitamins, zinc, iron and protein. The seeds also be made into fatty-acid rich pumpkin seed oil for cooking and salad dressings.

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  1. Love me some pumpkin! Great article, i learned a lot!

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